Biography of R. H. Breakfield of Des Moines township, Iowa

R. H. Breakfield, living on a farm on section 11, Des Moines township, is one of the thrifty and enterprising agriculturists of Dallas county. Almost his entire life has been passed in this township, which was the place of his birth–his natal day being June 25, 1859. His father is John Breakfield, a substantial farmer of Des Moines township, mentioned elsewhere in this work, and the family numbered four sons and a daughter.

In a manner not unlike most farm boys of the period R. H. Breakfield spent the days of his boyhood and youth attending the common schools and dividing his time between the work of the fields and the pleasures of the playground. Having arrived at adult age he was married in the city of Boone, November 21, 1880, to Miss Abigail Pritchard, a native of Pennsylvania, who was reared, however, in Boone county, Iowa. Mrs. Breakfield’s parents were Thomas and Elizabeth (Taylor) Pritchard. The former was born in England in 1835 and died at Ogden, Boone county, August 17, 1900. The latter was born in England in 1837 and died March 7, 1899, near Pilot Mound, Boone county, Iowa, and both parents were buried at Pilot Mound cemetery. They were married in England and about 1857 the family came to the United States, first settling in Schuylkill county, Pennsylvania, where the father engaged at his trade of coal mining. In 1867 or 1868 the family came to Iowa and settled at Moingona, Boone county, where Mr. Pritchard engaged in coal mining for three or four years, and then went to Centerville, remaining at that place for a similar period. Subsequently he came with his family to High Bridge, Dallas county, but in 1880 they moved back to Boone county and made their home on a farm, which they purchased, until their death. The father was a miner and followed this occupation from the time he was a small boy until the purchase of his farm in Boone county. Both he and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mrs. Breakfield was one of thirteen children, of whom nine survive: Sarah, the wife of Thomas Parks, of Fraser, Boone county; Joseph, of Boone county; Mathew, who makes his home in the same county; Mrs. Breakfield; Elizabeth, the wife of John Zunkle, of Boone county; Thomas and John, also residing in that county; Samuel, of Calhoun county, Iowa; and Johanna, the wife of James Wilson, of Boone county.

After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Breakfield located at Madrid, where Mr. Breakfield operated a rented farm for a year, and then moved onto another farm. He continued renting for six years, carrying on farming in the summer months, while in the winter seasons he engaged in mining coal for twenty-six years. In January, 1887, he bought the place where he now resides–a farm of fifty-two acres on sections 10 and 11 on the second bottoms of the Des Moines river, where the soil is rich and alluvial. He located on the farm, began to build and clear the land, grubbing, plowing, planting and fencing from year to year until the place has been transformed into productive fields. He erected a neat residence, with substantial outbuildings, has put out a good orchard and planted much small fruit. The place is now well fenced and the fields in a high state of cultivation and the owner is justly classed with the substantial and energetic farmers of Des Moines township.

Mr. and Mrs. Breakfield now have an interesting family of four children: Edith is the wife of Ramey Grow, a farmer of Boone county. They have one child, Lola Blanche. Mabel is the wife of Luther Staker, a farmer of Beaver township. They have one child, Ellen Abigail. John R. and George D. are at home. The family are widely and favorably known in the community, having a host of warm friends. Mr. and Mrs. Breakfield belong to the Christian church at Woodward. Mr. Breakfield, politically, is a stanch democrat and was elected and served for two terms as township trustee. He has also been a member of the township board and judge of elections on various occasions and all know him as a trustworthy and public-spirited citizen. Almost his entire life has been passed in Des Moines township and his long residence here is indicated by the fact that be has seen numerous bands of Indians here, while in his younger days the country was largely a wilderness and swamp. Within three-quarters of a mile of his father’s house a band of Indians camped all one winter. Today it is one of the best counties in the state, rich and fertile and its splendid agricultural possibilities have been brought about by such men as Mr. Breakfield–one of the leading and industrious farmers of this part of the state.


Wood, Robert F., Past and Present of Dallas County, Iowa, Chicago, IL: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1907.

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